a neighbour told me yesterday. She was on her way to the doctor. She has a heavy cold - but no worse than the one I have been nursing for the past ten days.
Apparently antibiotics will work for her. They won't work for me. You see I have a cold, a proper cold. I am still snuffling and occasionally sneezing. I am coughing and I feel fuzzy headed - which probably shows in the way I am writing this.
I also know that, given time, lots of fluids and the occasional pill for headache and general aches and pains relief, I will recover. It's annoying, especially when I have a lot to do but...I will recover. Antibiotics are not going to help me.
I have had just one lot of antibiotics in the last sixteen years - and I cannot remember when I had any before that. On the occasion I had them I was really ill. I actually needed antibiotics unless I wanted to end up in hospital and put the Senior Cat there out of worry as well. Fortunately for me the antibiotics worked on that occasion and I was back to prowling quietly around within a few days. A couple of weeks later I was my usual self.
I can remember the doctor saying to me, "I don't really want to prescribe these but I think you are sick enough to need them."
It's an attitude I like.
I get annoyed when people demand antibiotics simply in the hope they will feel better faster, simply because they don't like feeling sick. It's not fair on the rest of us.
We need antibiotics. We need them for the people who really need them. We need them to ensure that people who are already in a poor state of health have the capacity to fight infections. We need them for cancer patients and people with chronic diseases or suppressed immune systems.
We don't need them for otherwise healthy people who simply don't like being sick for a short time. The excuse that they can't miss work or that there is nobody else to care for family might sound good but it isn't really doing anyone any favours.
But my neighbour went off to the doctor and, no doubt, got her antibiotics. I put the rubbish into the recycle bin and prowled back into the house wishing I had some antibiotics, some magic pills that would make me feel instantly better.
It's not going to happen. It would be selfish to take antibiotics. I also hope that if I don't take them now and I ever do get ill enough to need them then my own ability to fight infection will be a little better for not having taken them earlier.
Well I am telling myself that anyway.